Apr 16, 2018, 2:30 PM ET

Territory, contraband probably provoked prison riot that killed 7 inmates, injured 17 others

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Seven inmates were killed and 17 others were injured after a riot broke out at a South Carolina prison over what officials say appeared to be a fight over territory.

The deadly incident at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina, about 60 miles east of Columbia, erupted around 7:15 p.m. Sunday and didn't end until the middle of the night, officials said.

Officials said they believe this was a gang-related dispute over territory, contraband and cellphones, explaining that phones allow inmates to fight over real money and real territory while behind bars.

PHOTO: A police vehicle sits outside the Lee Correctional Institution on April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C.Sean Rayford/AP
A police vehicle sits outside the Lee Correctional Institution on April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C.

PHOTO: This shows the Lee Correctional Institution, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in South Carolina. Sean Rayford/AP
This shows the Lee Correctional Institution, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in South Carolina.

The fight first broke out in one dorm at 7:15 p.m. and then spread to two other dorms at about 8:30 p.m., officials said.

At 11:30 p.m. there was enough manpower to safely enter the first dorm and take it back, officials said, and at 12:30 a.m. they entered the second dorm and safely took that back. At 2 a.m., officials entered the last dorm.

About 250 inmates are in each dorm and officials explained it appears the staff members did what they are trained to do -– which is if they cannot stop the situation, back out and call for help until there are enough workers present to take the dorm back with force.

PHOTO: Razor wire protects a perimeter of the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., in this Feb. 9, 2016.Sean Rayford/AP FILE
Razor wire protects a perimeter of the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., in this Feb. 9, 2016.

The slain inmates were identified as: Raymond Angelo Scott; Michael Milledge; Damonte Marquez Rivera; Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins; Joshua Svwin Jenkins; Corey Scott; and Cornelius Quantral McClary.

Most of the killed inmates were attacked with homemade knives, Lee County Coroner Larry Logan told The Associated Press. The others appeared to have been beaten, he said.

PHOTO: Seven inmates killed in a prison riot in Bishopville, S.C. From top left, Corey Scott, Eddie Casey Gaskins, Raymond Angelo Scott and Damonte Rivera; bottom row from left, Michael Milledge, Cornelius McClary and Joshua Jenkins.South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP
Seven inmates killed in a prison riot in Bishopville, S.C. From top left, Corey Scott, Eddie Casey Gaskins, Raymond Angelo Scott and Damonte Rivera; bottom row from left, Michael Milledge, Cornelius McClary and Joshua Jenkins.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections said all staff and responding law enforcement officers were safe and accounted for.

Officials are now investigating how these deaths occurred.

PHOTO: Ambulances respond to Lee Correctional Institution in this photo posted to Facebook by Lee Fire Department Public Information Officer.Lee Fire Dept. PIO/Facebook
Ambulances respond to Lee Correctional Institution in this photo posted to Facebook by Lee Fire Department Public Information Officer.

PHOTO: An ambulance responds to Lee Correctional Institution in this photo posted to Facebook by Lee Fire Department Public Information Officer.Lee Fire Dept. PIO/Facebook
An ambulance responds to Lee Correctional Institution in this photo posted to Facebook by Lee Fire Department Public Information Officer.

News - Territory, contraband probably provoked prison riot that killed 7 inmates, injured 17 others

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  • Curly Bill

    This is how prison should be.
    Maybe it would be a deterrent.

  • jon rhodes

    This prison administrator will have a lot of explaining to do. He'll probably have to do the last few sentences as he carries his personal belongings out the door.

  • Will Strup

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes...

  • IndyJudy

    The first fight started at 7:15p and it took until 11:30p to have the appropriate numbers of police/etc. to enter the prison? That is a long time, isn't it?

  • Cheese2theBall

    On the good news front....room for 7 more/new scum bags....

  • T. Lavon Lawrence

    "Territory provoked..."

    Ah, so a bit of jailhouse geography set off a conflagration of wanton violence and destruction?

    I was silly enough to assume it was because they're a bunch of criminals.

  • Mic

    meat for angels....

  • bubs

    can't imagine the chaos inside when all this was going on. crazy.

  • Lawrence Wilson

    Well this maximum security institute of higher learning doesn't seem to be so secure on the inside. Guards seemed to have all the luck what with so many shives going around.

  • Jukka-Emil Vanaja

    Well, it's already plain business for some folks, so I don't think it'll be long before they start showing this crap on pay-per-view.

  • Cheese2theBall

    This is a perfect example of why we need to ban certain semi-automatic firearms.

  • Dukedaddy

    Is this the same prison that the Trump/ Kushner crime family will be spending the rest of their lives?

  • Kevin Walker

    why even stop them? just let them fix our over crowded prison issues and lower our taxes on their own at the same time

  • LastSecondTakedown

    Raymond Angelo Scott shot a store clerk during a robbery. Michael Milledge was incarcerated in April 2010, and sentenced to a total 66 years for assault and battery, illegal drug possession, possession of narcotics, trafficking in crack cocaine and an additional firearms charges. Rivera was serving a life sentence for murder and armed robbery, among other things. Gaskins threatened his wife with a shotgun. Jenkins was charged with burglary, volunteer manslaughter and attempted murder. Corey Scott was charged with kidnapping and armed robbery, among other things. McClary was charged with battery, burglary and criminal conspiracy. Murder charges were dropped on him.
    Anyway, these guys deserved to be in prison - and unfortunately, their life choices also resulted in their deaths.

  • John Springer

    I cannot believe we cannot police violence even in prison.

  • SKV

    Once you google names, it will reveal a cause behind fight - a war between ethnic gangs. One side belongs to US, but another side is obvious newcomers. The good question, how did newcomers or their parents got into US?